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Hi Friends, I’m Super thrilled to Announce;

Guest Artist Instructor Melinda Tidwell


Friday, April 17th, Saturday, April 18th and Sunday, April 19th, 2020

The cost of the workshop is $775

Description: In this 3-day workshop, we seek to unravel the mysteries of great abstract composition using collage processes and the fascinating material of deconstructed old books. Collage is the ideal medium for exploring composition and I am loading our backpack with 3 powerful “technologies” to make your exploration fruitful.

Structures: Abstract composition is such an amorphous thing. I felt very drawn to it but very lost when I began this work, so I really began to look at visual structures that artists were using to organize the space. I needed a direction to head in and I will be offering a variety of these for you to explore in our 3 days together. Structures are illustrated with multiple variations to invite your creativity to use them strictly or loosely, as you prefer.

Design: While there are a handful of principles of design, some are more important than others —- we will start with the most powerful ones. These fundamental principles will strengthen your work and give you a foundation to build on.

Materials: If Structures and Design are the skeleton and muscles of our work, Materials is the beating heart. You will begin with a curated, pre-cut, massive pile of collage elements I have created. These collage elements are culled from hundreds of paperback and hardback covers and shaped with an eye to color, texture, shape and size. Beneath this visual feast is the more subtle context of history and meaning running through these fragments of our human society. You may want to use it or not, but this extra layer of “found materials” is definitely interesting. The idea is to dazzle your eyes and mind immediately, and to create an environment where combining and rearranging is easy and fun.

Structures and Design will evolve each day, but Materials will be the fun part. The first day I provide them, succeeding days you learn how to make your own as we delve deep into the possibilities of The Book As Material: Paperback covers, made from printed card stock, supply a lot of color, typography, and words to play with. They are easy to cut, tear, crease and fold, sand, and even sew. For our purposes, old is more interesting than new, but it is particularly so for hardbacks. Old hardbacks are covered completely in fabric and, if they are quite old, can be beautifully printed. You will learn how to disassemble them, what bits to save, and the treasure of texture to be found in the dried adhesives and dangling threads. Our end product will be a series of 9×12” book collages on paper. Each day includes an end of day critique to really look at what is working and brainstorm ways to make the work even stronger. Each student will be provided with a presentation NOTES pdf that covers course material.

Instructor provides:
Powerpoint presentation pdf notes.
Collage elements made from paperback and hardback books.
Blank, aged papers (pulled from books, for use as background sheets)
A variety of hole punches
Awls (2 to share)
Old magazines (for a gluing surface)
Examples of book collages for reference

Student brings:
Exacto knife with new blades: Several options here: Exacto knives and blades
Small Cutting surface mat: 9×12
Metal edge ruler – for cutting: Several options here: Rulers
Nice combo pack
Plastic triangle 6” side – for tearing: triangle
Paintbrushes – 1/2”, 1” synthetic flats for gluing: brushes
Acrylic gloss medium, not gel – provided but you may like to have some of your own: medium
Watercolor paper, 9×12”, 3-5 per day: watercolor paper
Paperback Books- 10-20 covers
Hardback books- 5-10 full books
White artists tape 1”
pen, pencils, erasers
Sanding mask
Needles and embroidery thread

Workshop Venue provides:
Acrylic gloss medium, not gel
Sandpaper -200
Qt plastic tubs for water
Pint plastic tubs (1 per student) with lids for adhesive
Paper towels
White papered tables
Flattening station – wax paper + heavy stack of books
Sanding station

About your “old books” treasure hunt: This can be one of the funnest parts of book collage. There are library book sales, thrift stores and in larger metropolitan areas recycled book sites or large book sale events. We want books that are old and worn. Stains from liquid, writing, sun bleaching, darkening aged paper—- all these things make for interesting collage elements. The traces of humanity are a thread we love to follow. This hunt is particularly a historical expedition and you may find there are era’s and styles you are particularly drawn to. For me it was the atomic age and the 50’s. This time had just passed when I was growing up so I was very interested in it as an adult. You might like Victorian, art deco, the thirties, cookbooks—- there are lots of ways to slice this huge pie. Pick books that attract you. But: pay particular attention to color and value. These covers are your painting palette and for starters we want a good selection of darks. We will be working on white paper, so the lights are somewhat built in, but darks are not. Black is your good friend here—- it goes with every color. Pick colors you like, bright and saturated, dull and muted, warm/cool. Variety will give you a lot of latitude. But for me, for instance, I am not very into purple or blues so I skip over that. LOVE reds and red browns, pale greens, etc. Its also very possible to work just in black and white, where white is all the colors of aged papers. If you already know how to disassemble books, feel free to just bring the covers.

About Melinda Tidwell:
My work begins with the formal aspects of design and the balance of visual elements in composition. Using parts from a variety of books, I focus on the juxtaposition and coherence of color, pattern, placement and size.

My background in mathematics, computer graphics, and design has lead to a certain comfort with geometric arrangements. But this rational foundation quickly gives way to what is not rational: the way colors activate each other, how size and position muddle or enhance visual unity, the simple grace of worn and tattered surfaces.

I find discarded books a particularly rich collage material, both for their physical properties and the context they come from. I love the foxed pages, how covers fade and fray, and the paperbacks grow scored with folds. But then there are the components of language: typography, words, sentences, diagrams, pictures that bring meaning with them. Cut away from their original context, they operate as texture and shape, and also as a kind of code, or pieces of memory. The abstraction of this information into bits of non-sense, hopes to tease the viewer into that wilder land of free association and one’s own imagination.

The cost of the workshop is $775.00
A $100.00 non-refundable non-transferable deposit holds your space.

Please let me know right away if you would like to join in and I will confirm space availability. Spaces fill up quickly!

Balance due: March 19th, 2020: $675.00

Cancellation policy:

In the event of cancellation after the workshop is paid in full by March 19th, 2020, $665 will be refunded if someone from the waiting list is able to attend. Non-payment of the $675 balance by March 19th, 2020 may result in someone form the waiting list taking the space so please be sure to watch for the balance due email announcement and please be in touch if there are any changes.

Payment Options (after availability is confirmed):

▪ via Zelle to

▪ via PayPal by logging into paypal and sending your payment to or please request a paypal invoice from me.

▪ By credit card; call Bonny at 214-405-5993

▪ By check to The Encaustic Center, 580 W Arapaho Rd. #271, Richardson, TX, 750

▪ By cash at The Bonny Studio or The Encaustic Center, please call or email Bonny to schedule a time: or 214-405-5993

The Encaustic Center:
580 W.Arapaho Rd. #271
Richardson, TX. 75080
Bonny Leibowitz